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Body & Brain

Food tastes less fatty to overweight people, plus an itch protein and thirsty rats in this week’s news

2:19pm, April 8, 2011
Fat sensors muted in the overweight
Most people can easily detect the presence of oil in foods, but the threshold for tasting this fat is only about half as high in lean men as in heavy ones, Australian scientists report. Their study of 19 men (eight lean) also monitored the recruits’ gastrointestinal responses to fat. Here as well, overweight and obese individuals proved less effective at sensing the arrival of fat and triggering appropriate hormonal feedback signals to the brain. Whether this decreased sensitivity might foster overconsumption of fat, versus the other way around, will require further testing, the scientists conclude in the April American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. —Janet Raloff

LSAT test prep molds brain
SAN FRANCISCO — Law school hopefuls might have empty pockets after paying big bucks for an LSAT test prep class, but their brains could very well work better. The rigorous, 100
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